Risotto. That amazing old Italian standby (so the basil still feels at home). The base is your basic risotto recipe (minus the parmesan cheese. more on that later). We blanched a head of spinach, squeezed it dry and added that along with roughly a cup of basil leaves to a food processor. Blend well. Then cook the risotto. When the risotto has just finished cooking, carefully mix in the green mixture, and remove from heat. Now here is where you would typically add your parmesan cheese, and there are numerous vegan recipes that substitute brewers yeast, but I just added a dollop of butter and stirred until everything was well blended. A sprinkle of pine nuts (we used walnuts) on top and you're ready to dig in. I was shocked at how flavorful it was. Perhaps our taste buds were influenced by the wine we cooked with, but there really was this tasty dish in front of us. The basil came through in a remarkable way, and we both ended up having seconds (well, perhaps thirds). The whole time we're cooking my mother patiently listened to me expound upon the wonders of basil. "It's not just a culinary herb, it's a medicinal herb. have I already told you that?" I said while my mom rolled her eyes after hearing me say that for the fifth time. Basil really is quite marvelous, with very potent essential oils that give it antiviral, antioxidant, and antimicrobial properties. I like using it for its antimicrobial properties. Add to that its ability to aid in the digestive tract and you have the perfect recipe to kill parasites! I think I'll help myself to some of that leftover risotto.
Written by Carrie Pattison, WishGarden Education Director